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Can you answer a 110-year-old exam question?

This month, 110 years ago, three candidates sat the “Certificate of Proficiency in English” exam. The 12-hour test cost £3, and included translation, dictation, and phonetic transcription for people who wanted to become English language teachers. Today, it is known as the C2 Proficiency English Exam.

Since 1913, Cambridge English Exams have changed significantly. From those first three candidates, the exams are now taken by 6.1 million people every year and recognised by more than 25,000 organisations around the world. 

“In the last 110 years, the Cambridge English exams have gone from strength to strength,” says Managing Director for English, Francesca Woodward. “This success has been driven by a passion for education, constant innovation and a commitment to delivering high quality exams.”

Looking back on how the exams have changed, Cambridge has shared questions from the original papers. Do you think you could answer this 110-year-old question?

Image courtesy of Cambridge

Speaking about the original exams, Francesca says, “The historical papers from our archives paint a fascinating picture of how much has changed when it comes to learning English with Cambridge. The original papers were a revolution in English language assessment, setting clear goals and emphasising the ability to use the language.”

Today, the C2 Proficiency exam shows its candidates are highly competent speakers of English and tests skills in line with C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference, which is the international standard of language ability.

Images courtesy of Nathan Dumlao and Library
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